Energy drinks and isotonic drinks is a big business in the beverages industry. We often see sports event sponsors or advertisements during the fasting month promoting these energetic drinks claiming to supply energy and keeping body hydration level on par. One of the ingredients often used in those drinks is taurine. Do you know that taurine is highest in breast milk? Most formula milk for babies are fortified with taurine and folic acid to give as much nutrition as breast milk can offer. Have you ever wondered what taurine does to your body?
Taurine is an amino acid containing sulphur and though it is not part of protein, it is available throughout the body such as the brain, eye and muscle. Thus, taurine is considered important in maintaining body function.We can gain taurine from our diet such as beef, chicken , scallops, octopus and seaweed. In cases of low taurine in the body, a person may be susceptible to sickness since the body is not able to protect them against diseases. Taurine has many important roles in the body such as:
Taurine is most abundant in the eye area especially in the retina. Retina is the eye nerve that is responsible to receive what we see and help the brain process to create an image and thoughts relating to it. Taurine helps maintain good eyesight by protecting the photoreceptor or light receptor in the retina which is important for development of images we see. This is important as our photoreceptor will degenerate as we get older and can cause eyesight problems such as cataract.
Taurine is important in brain development and the retinal development in the embryo. In cases of low taurine mother, the baby will be born with an underdeveloped photoreceptor and loss of brain nerve cells. In some cases, it also causes growth problems for the child. Taurine also plays a big role in the adult brain as it helps the process of neurogenesis. Neurogenesis process in the brain cells is vital for adults as it helps the process of learning, maintaining normal body function and protects from mood disorders such depression and anxiety.
Cardiovascular in general involves the heart and the blood vessels. Taurine has been proven to reduce the risk of heart diseases. It mainly works on blood vessels and the heart cell by protecting it from the bad effect of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress basically is a substance that triggers the blood vessel work adversely and creates more blood clots. This in turn can be a high risk of congestive arterial diseases or stroke. Taurine also helps to promote heart cell to live longer by preventing oxidative stress from damaging the mitochondria (a part in the cell responsible for cell viability by providing energy through several chemical reaction inside cell)
Taurine is also present in abundance in muscle cells. It helps the muscle to develop by increasing muscle tissues, strengthening it and helps muscle functioning well. It also repairs damages of the cells due oxidative stress from heavy exercise or strain heavy activities.
It can be concluded that taurine has much to offer for the body other than hydrating the body and thirst quencher.It is advisable to get taurine from food. For those considering getting taurine from energy drinks,make sure that the sugar content is not high. It also acts as a neuroprotectant,improving cell functions, reducing risk for cardiovascular diseases, better vision and even for the muscle. Taurine which is often mistreated as not so essential substance for the body, is actually a big deal for health continuity.